Member Resources

Here members can learn about OSCA policy on accessibility, nutrition, safety, and more. 

Refer to the OSCA Owner's Manual for more information on being an OSCAn.

Accessibility and Anti-Oppression Policies

Bylaws (Cooperative Principles)

OSCA Bylaws, Article 2 (Cooperative Principles as Followed by OSCA)

  • Section 1 - Voluntary and open membership — Voluntary membership without artificial restriction. This includes restrictions against any race, sexual orientation, religious or political belief, gender, or social position.

Accessibility Information (4/09)

Created 4/09

  • All OSCA entrance applications have a link to OSCA's accessibility policies and the contact information for the current Accessibility Committee Coordinators.
  • All OSCA entrance applications have a box to check that reads: "I would like to be contacted by the Accessibility Committee Coordinators for information about OSCA's policies regarding accommodations for the following: members with disabilities, members seeking alternative eating arrangements, need based singles, and persons with financial need."

Persons With Disabilities Membership (4/84)

Created 4/84, amended 4/97, 4/09

  • This policy makes OSCA more accessible to persons with disabilities through membership accessibility, accessibility once in a co-op, education about disabilities.
  • Membership: students with disabilities will receive a random lottery number and follow regular wait list procedures until they become a member of OSCA. Once in OSCA, a member with a self-identified disability may request an accommodation and be able to jump the wait list into another co-op depending on their individual needs. In order to jump the waitlist into another co-op, the member requesting an accommodation must meet with members of the Accessibility Committee to determine the best accommodation for their individual needs.
  • Implemented action in the co-op: students with disabilities will have workchart flexibility. Since co-op members' disabilities vary in degree and type, it is important that there be flexibility in job choice. For example, committee work could be substituted for cooking or crew (it is suggested that although OSCA status quo is that all members do a crew, perhaps some disabled persons may be exempt from crew and do other work instead. If a disability constrains an individual to do less than the status quo number of co-op hours, then this will be will be taken into account.
  • COPAO reps of each co-op will be an advocate for self-identified disabled persons within the co-op, working with the Work Chart/Miss-Job Coordinator to make sure things run smoothly.
  • Accessibility Committee Coordinators will strive to provide campus-wide education and outreach regarding accessibility issues in OSCA.

Alternative Eating Arrangements (9/92)

Created 9/92, revised 4/97, 9/08, 4/09

  • Students dining in a co-op who have medical or religious needs that are not met by the co-op will be able to jump the wait-list into another co-op or eat in Campus Dining Service after meeting the Accessibility Committee Coordinators (and Nutrition Coordinator in the case of medical needs) and providing a note from a doctor or college official that explains the reason why a co-op switch is necessary. The Accessibility Committee Coordinators will then confirm a demonstrated need and contact the Membership Secretary.
  • Students living in a co-op and requesting an alternative eating arrangement for medical or religious reasons may remain a resident of that living co-op.

All-Gender Rooming (5/93)

Created 5/93, revised 2/09

  • OSCA provides all-gender rooming options upon request.

Housing Applications (02/09)

Created 02/09

  • That all housing applications include two checkboxes that read as follows:
    • "I am comfortable with any roommate, regardless of assigned sex or gender identity."
    • "I would like to live with someone who is comfortable with any roommate, regardless of assigned sex or gender identity."
  • Checking the box does not constitute consent to an assignment with a person of a different gender identity. OSCA still obtains agreement from all parties involved before assigning roommates of different gender identities.

Transgender Inclusiveness (4/02)

Created 4/02

  • Housing and dining co-ops have at least one gender-neutral bathroom.
  • OSCA gives singles priority to trans people who feel uncomfortable living with a roommate.
  • OSCA removes all references to biological sex from its paperwork, instead allowing people to self-identify their gender, which will be reflected in OSCA's paperwork.

Time Aid (09/93)

Created 09/93

  • Encourages all co-ops discuss time aid to make co-ops more accessible to working students.

OSCA Scholarships (4/97)

Created 4/97, last amended 09/14

  • The scholarship fund offers low-income students financial assistance in paying for their OSCA board bills. Scholarships cover $500 or $1,000 of the semester's OSCA board bill, depending on demonstrated financial need.
  • In order to determine need, students applying for scholarships must submit their Oberlin financial aid award letter, a Student Aid Report (SAR), or an International student financial aid application (instead of SAR if the student is an international student).
  • Representatives of the committee include the OSCA Treasurer, the OSCA Foundation Treasurer, the Treasurer of each dining co-op, the Accessibility Committee Coordinators, ad-hoc Board reps, and any other interested OSCA members.
  • Due to the sensitive nature of the information the committee deals with, only members of the committee who have gone through all the training regarding how to determine need and ethical issues will be allowed to examine the Scholarship applications.

Conference Subsidies (9/09)

Last amended 9/09

  • OSCA allocates funds from its annual budget towards the subsidy of members attending conferences. No individual shall receive more than $100, except in the case of NASCO where the maximum subsidy shall be equal to the conference fee less $35 (to be paid by each member.)

Need-Based Single (11/00)

Created 11/00

  • OSCA gives priority for single rooms to qualified students with disabilities.

Fasting Refund (3/95)

Created 3/95, revised 5/09

  • OSCA refunds members for meals that they cannot possibly eat while fasting for the month of Ramadan. Members must meet with the Financial Manager to determine the exact amount of the refund.

Suggested Food Buying Practices (12/03)

Created 12/03

  • The OSCA Board of Directors recommends that a list of products that use exploitative, derogatory or offensive depictions (in words or pictures) of people of color in their marketing be kept in the OSCA office and that the food buyers take this into account when ordering food.

Creation of an OSCA Accessibility Committee (5/91)

Created 5/91, last revised 7/19

  • The OSCA Accessibility is a standing and chartered committee of the Board.
  • Both Accessibility Committee Coordinators chair the committee, and the following positions sit on the committee: the OSCA Treasurer, Membership Director, President, and Education Coordinator.
  • The following positions sit on the committee as needed: OSCA/College Liason, Housing Coordinator, OSCA Foundation Treasurer, and SHILs

Subcommittee: Committee on Privilege and Oppression (COPAO) (5/02)

Created 5/02, amended 4/09

  • The Committee on Privilege and Oppression is a subcommittee of the Accessibility, and is coordinated by the two Accessibility Committee Coordinators.
  • Co-ops decide at the beginning of the semester whether to have COPAO/Accessibility Reps who represent their individual co-ops on COPAO. Reps can receive full credit for sitting on COPAO. 

Privilege and Oppression Workshops (5/02)

Created 5/02, revised 4/03

  • Every member of OSCA is required to attend one event each semester addressing the way issues such as racism, sexism, ableism, heterosexism, classism, religious oppression, gender oppression, and other forms of oppression manifest themselves in the OSCA community.
  • This event could be a workshop offered by COPAO (the Committee on Privilege and Oppression) or a speaker/workshop hosted by another campus organization.
  • Each co-op decides every semester how to enforce this requirement.

Nutrition and Dietary Concerns

OSCA works hard to create a friendly and safe dining atmosphere for co-opers with special dietary needs. OSCAns count among their ranks vegans who eat and do not eat honey, vegetarians, and people who can't consume certain nuts, fruits, vegetables, legumes, gluten, wheat, egg, soy, and pretty much anything else you can think of. Co-opers write their names on worksheets posted in the kitchen to indicate their dietary preferences (vegan with/without honey, vegetarian) as well as the foods they are unable to eat due to allergies, intolerance, or other medical conditions. Cooks are required to consult these worksheets and provide adequate food for everyone at meals. Cooks are also supposed to list all the ingredients in the dishes they prepare, and note whether they are vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, etc. However, different co-ops do better at following these guidelines than others. For example, Fairchild has a very strong history of accommodating gluten-free co-opers and co-opers with nut allergies. Larger co-ops can have more difficulty accommodating every member.

While many co-opers migrate to certain co-ops based on the food policies these co-ops have historically followed, food policy is decided anew by each co-op, each semester. Fairchild and Harkness have historically served vegan and vegetarian food only. Keep, Pyle, Tank, and Old Barrows have served meat a couple times a month in the past. For co-opers with medical conditions that require them to eat a very individualized and precise diet, Brown Bag Co-op can be a good choice. Brown Bag is a buying co-op where members can purchase their food and cook in their own kitchens. If you would like advice on which co-op might best be able to meet your dietary concerns, email osca@oberlin.edu Attn: Nutrition Coordinator to let us know!

At the beginning of the semester, cooks and food buyers receive a nutrition and cross-contamination training from the all-OSCA Food Safety Coordinator and Nutrition Coordinator. If you have useful guidelines for avoiding cross-contamination, information about allergies, or anything else you would like to be added to this training, email osca@oberlin.edu Attn: Nutrition Coordinator.

If your nutritional needs are not being accommodated, or just to ensure that they will be, you may want to talk to your co-op cooks, food buyers, nutrition adviser, and/or the all-OSCA Nutrition Coordinator. For example, you might urge your food buyers to buy gluten-free pasta, cereal, gluten-free flours for baking, wheat-free soy sauce, etc. If a cook consistently fails to provide adequate meals for you, you can give them a missed job. However, dialogue is really the most effective tool. If you feel uncomfortable talking to any of these people, your co-op nutrition adviser or the all-OSCA Nutrition Coordinator will do it for you. That's their job. Students with special dietary needs are paying just as much money to the co-op as everyone else, and they deserve to eat! Some co-ops choose not to elect a nutrition adviser, or are unable to. Students in these co-ops can feel free to contact the all-OSCA Nutrition Coordinator directly.

Nutrition advisers are elected each semester by individual co-ops. The job of the nutrition adviser is to make sure that everyone is getting adequate and appropriate nutrition. Nutrition advisers act as liaisons between cooks, food buyers, and co-opers, handling nutrition-related complaints and talking to whomever necessary in order to resolve problems. Co-opers are paying for nutritious meals - nutrition advisers make sure they're getting their money's worth. Nutrition advisers also advocate for students with allergies, intolerances, and other diet-related conditions, creating a culture in their co-op where cooks and food buyers know that failure to accommodate people's dietary needs is not okay. With their leftover time, they help OSCAns learn about nutrition by researching topics that their co-op is interested in, planning workshops and events, or doing anything else their co-op requests. In fall of 2008, nutrition advisers researched sweeteners, soy, and protein, and worked on a Local Foods Cookbook. In spring of 2008, nutrition advisers organized a workshop on breadmaking and researched topics such as "eating for a healthy immune system". Is there anything else you would like the Nutrition Coordinator or your co-op nutrition adviser to be working on? Do you have a question about nutrition? Send an email to osca@oberlin.edu Attn: Nutrition Coordinator, to let us know!

Sometimes it is impossible for a specific co-op to accommodate a co-oper's dietary needs. In this event, there is a special procedure to apply to be switched into a more appropriate co-op, which may allow the co-oper to jump the wait list into that co-op. Co-opers will have to prove their medical need to utilize this method of co-op switching, and people trying to abuse this privilege will not succeed. If you feel that you are a candidate for co-op switching, email the all-OSCA Nutrition Coordinator at OSCA@oberlin.edu attn: Nutrition Coordinator to begin a dialogue.

Drug and Alcohol Policy

In 1996, OSCA created a drug and alcohol policy that is unique to its particular needs. The purpose of OSCA's Drug and Alcohol Policy is to provide education for members about the effects of drugs, including alcohol, on both individuals and communities.

OSCA researches and distributes information about drug and alcohol use, laws, and resources for help on and off campus each semester. The policy is not intended to supersede Residential Education, local, state, or federal laws.

Sexual Misconduct Policy

The OSCA Sexual Misconduct Policy exists in conjunction with Oberlin College's Sexual Misconduct Policy and with state and federal laws. OSCA's policy differs from these in several key ways. It outlines the way in which OSCA as an organization will respond to sexualized violence within the OSCA community. It provides three (3) Sexual Harm Information Liaisons (SHILs) to ensure adherence to policy and to support OSCAns who have experienced sexual misconduct. Finally, OSCA's Sexual Misconduct Policy exists to aid in the prevention of sexualized violence and to provide support for persons involved in sexualized violence.

For more information, please read the pamphlet linked below.